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Afghan feminist: The ‘war on terror’ is a war on the Afghan people

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Green Left Weekly, issue #813, October 14, 2009

Outspoken anti-war and democracy campaigner Malalai Joya was suspended from the Afghan parliament in 2007 for speaking out against corruption and the domination of the country by warlords. US current affairs weradio show Democracy Now has called her “the bravest woman in Afghanistan”. Below is an abridged statement from Joya to Australian anti-war campaigners. The statement was read out at the national protests against the Afghanistan war on October 7.

I would like to thank you for your solidarity with the suffering and ill-fated Afghan people and for raising your voice against the wrong and devastating policies of your government in Afghanistan.

Eight years ago, the US and its allies occupied Afghanistan under the nice slogans of “democracy”, “women’s rights” and “freedom”, but today we are as far from these values as we were in 2001.

Days after the invasion, the brutal regime of the Taliban was toppled but another bunch of terrorist warlords of the Northern Alliance, who are no different from the Taliban, were supported by the West and imposed on our people.

Democracy can't be donated to a nation through occupation, cluster bombs and air raids. The horrible condition of Iraq and Afghanistan today proves this.

In Afghanistan every day we are mourning civilian casualties as a result of the US/NATO bombardments.

In my own hometown, more than 150 civilians, many of them women and children, were brutally killed when the US warplanes dropped 2000-pound bombs.

The dropping of thousands of cluster bombs and the use of depleted-uranium and white phosphorus in bombs rained on Afghanistan have caused terrible environmental and health problems in my country.

The people of Australia should know that the people of Afghanistan want peace, liberation and democracy, but the current occupation is exactly against these values, and has doubled our miseries and problems.

Your government puts the lives of your soldiers in danger to protect US interests in Afghanistan. So you should continue to put pressure on your government to pull out of Afghanistan.

Under the noses of thousands of US and NATO troops, millions of Afghans suffer from insecurity, injustice, corruption, severe poverty and unemployment.

Afghan women and children are the prime victims of this catastrophic situation. Rape, mistreatment and other forms of violence against women are increasing rapidly, but a reign of impunity prevails across Afghanistan for the warlords and drug lords.

The “war on terror” is in fact a war against Afghan people.

Since 2001, the NATO and US changed Afghanistan into the world capital of opium. Opium production has increased by 4500%. Today Afghanistan is a mafia state and drug traffickers hold the highest positions in the puppet government.

The anti-occupation sentiment is very high among our people today. Only those nations who liberate themselves can be free and we are ready to give any sacrifices for our freedom.

We are happy that, although Western governments bomb us, the great and peace-loving people of these countries stand in solidarity with us and raise their voices against the wrong-doings of their governments.

Your solidarity and support give us encouragement and determination to fight for justice and true democracy, in Afghanistan until the end.